Back to school

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a phased return to school for pupils starting on Monday February 22, will be welcomed by many and approached with caution by others.

The need for children to return to some semblance of normality and to once again enjoy mixing with their peers – so vital during formative years – cannot be underestimated especially when considering mental health and wellbeing.

Of course, the risks of infection spreading will also weigh heavily on parents’ minds as children start to make the return to full-time and part-time education.

Ultimately it is a calculated risk, a difficult balancing act of caution versus the urgent need for pupils to return to education, especially when considering the time that many children have already missed out on face-to-face schooling.

But it is a risk that we have to take sooner rather than later, if we desperately want to lessen the impact on both teachers and pupils of having to try and catch up for months or years to come.

With proper safety measures, a healthy dose of precaution and parents and pupils continuing to follow guidelines, the risk may just pay dividends and be the success story that we all hope it can be.

With no guarantees or definitive answers we can but hope that the tentative steps to return to formal education are the start on the road to recovery that, coupled with the success of the vaccination programme and virus suppressing lockdown measures, we all so dearly yearn for.